Additional content warning now available

[CW: discussion of appropriate tagging of rape and dubious consent in fanfiction.]


Running a fanfiction archive is more complicated than any of us admins ever expected. We're lucky here, in many ways, because we don't have ship wars to contend with - we can float along in our happy little ocean liner and enjoy our OTP.


Sometimes, though, we have a problem - usually one that wasn't taken into account when the site was built, and hasn't come up before, so it's never been addressed. When that happens, we have to talk it through among the three of us: how do we handle the current instance that raised the issue, and how can we reduce the possibility of it being a problem again going forward? (You'll notice we didn't say, "prevent it." That's because we've learned that it's almost impossible to perfectly anticipate the scope of human behavior.)


We recently had occasion to review the list of content warnings Nine Lives provides for authors to use, which include "attempted rape," "rape (implied)," and "rape (actual.)" There was no provision for "dubious consent," which an author might use for a situation they considered potentially questionable (consent is unknown or uncertain, as distinguished from consent being definitely absent), and we felt that omission could lead to situations where a fic might not provide adequate warning to allow readers to avoid content they would find problematic.


So we've added "dubious consent" to our warnings. Some may think that doesn't go far enough, but after discussion that's how we've decided to approach this issue. If you have a different idea on this, let us know.


The existence of an additional warning doesn't automatically mean an author will use it. Like anything else, we have to rely on our authors to consider the applicability of and then use the appropriate warnings, or to put something in the story notes to alert readers to possible difficult content. There also are going to be instances where the author truly doesn't see the content as troublesome. That's where our readers come in.


If you have an issue with a story, you can PM an author directly and have a respectful conversation with them about your concerns. If you'd prefer not to contact the author, you can PM one of the admins (subversivegrrl, alannastara, or ikkleosu) and let us know what your concerns are. You can also contact us via the "contact" link at the bottom of every page, but please note that those site emails don't get checked every day.

However you decide to approach the issue, PLEASE come to us directly. Whisper campaigns, or sending complaints about story content to third parties, like on Tumblr, or a Facebook group, or anywhere else that does not directly connect to the people who can do anything about it, doesn't address or resolve the problem. All that does is stir up hostility and gossip. We've had instances in the past where back-channel sniping has nearly caused authors to stop writing entirely. We're very lucky that this instance was solved by civil communication, but it could easily have gone the other direction.

As always, if you have a suggestion for how the Nine Lives archive can better serve our members and authors, please don't hesitate to get in touch with one of the admins or use that contact link below. We're here because you're here, and we want to make the site as welcoming as possible for everyone.

--Nine Lives Admins on November 01, 2017 1:52pm 0 Comments